Sunday, November 24, 2013

Out of the Weather

And no, they are NOT in my house!

The weather has sure turned freakin' cold these last couple of days.  It has gotten absolutely frigid out there.

These two month old kittens and their mama have been on my porch.  Mama has been with me for over a year and this is her second litter.  My kitten Lily, is from her first litter.

With the weather changing, I have been worried about these babies.  I thought Adrienne, the mama, would be ok.  She's lived through winters before on my porch.  But these little ones . . . yeah, I'm getting soft in my old age.

We know I am a foster failure.  That's how I got Maggie and that's how I got Lily.  Once they come in my house, it's almost impossible to let them go.  But, I didn't want anything happening to these helpless babies out there.

So, I found someone to foster all three of them!  I set traps on my front porch where I feed them.  Last night, Saturday night, I caught Adrienne.  The kittens were no where to be seen though.  I sent Adrienne to the foster home and put the traps back on the porch.

I was so worried about the kittens getting caught during the night and then sitting in a cold metal cage all night long in that cold.  I was up half of the night, going out checking if the traps have been sprung!  Ok, now that I'm typing this, I probably should have just turned the traps so I could see them from the window!  Duh.  Hindsight and all of that.

Anyway, the big trap kept getting sprung but with nothing in it.  I don't know if the high winds last night kept setting it off or what.  Early this morning though, I finally caught one kitten.  The litter mate stayed by the caught sibling.  I tried to catch her with a net but she was too smart for that.

I took the trap upstairs into my bathroom, took my big cat carrier, put a nice towel in the bottom of it and transferred the kitten from the trap to the carrier.  I took the trap right back outside and with the kitten watching me, I put the food back in it, set the door and covered the trap with a towel.  Believe it or not, in about 20 minutes, I had caught the second kitten!  Back upstairs, transferred her to the carrier with her brother and at least they were warm and out of the weather.

I took them to the foster mom who already had Adrienne.  She gave them a quick look over and then took them to the vet.

The little brown one on the left is a girl, Alice, who is 1 lb 9 oz.  The little gray striped one on the right is a little boy, Alfonzo, and he is 1 lb 15 oz.  They both have colds and are on antibiotics and eye ointment.  No surprises there.  The foster mom will get them healthy, work with them so that they get used to people and are hand tame.  Once they are healthy and over 2 lbs, they can go be spayed and neutered and then put up for adoption.

Adrienne hopefully will get spayed this coming week.  Once she recovers, she will be evaluated.  She has always been wild and has never even let me get near her.  The foster mom will work with her and see if she can get her hand tamed.  She can work miracles with cats, so I am hoping!  If she can be hand tamed, she can be sent for adoption.  If not . . . Adrienne will be re-released back on my porch.  At least if she's released, she will be spayed and not producing any more litters.  If she's brought back, I will continue to put food out there for her and will make a shelter out there for her.

For now, the kitties are all out of the weather and hopefully on to better lives.

I leave you with two really good and really important announcements.

1.)  If you have outside pets, please make sure they have adequate shelter in this weather or bring them inside! 

2.)  Please spay or neuter your pet.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Deer vs Car? Who Wins?

Like is full of peaks and valleys.  You have to experience the bad so that you can appreciate the good.  Right now I seem to be in the valley, taking a few hits from life.  Literally.

I was coming home Friday night around 6:30 in the evening.  As you all know, it's freakin' dark by then.  I was on North Ridge Road in Amherst heading towards Oberlin Avenue from Leavitt. 

I've been on that road before, probably quite a few times but rarely in the dark.  I'm a little familiar with that road but not in the dark.  As I was heading towards Oberlin Avenue, a car coming at me was blinking their high beams at me.  That tells me that something is up ahead to watch out for, usually a police car watching for speeders.

I'm not a speeder.  I had one speeding ticket in my life and that was an expensive lesson to never do that again.  Plus, with my phobias, I hate being in the car anyway. I'm trying to get from point A to point B alive so speeding is not usually something I am willing to do.  So, I saw the flashing high beams and thought fine, I'm not speeding, I don't care.  Well, I guess they were warning us about something but it wasn't the police.

Suddenly, BAM!  There was a deer hitting into my car by my driver's window.  She ROCKED my car and scared the crap out of me.  I slammed on my brakes and came to a stop in the middle of North Ridge Road.  I was frozen, I had no idea what to do.  I never saw her coming until she was right at my window.  I never saw her.

The car that was directly behind me came slowly up next to me, then turned right in front of me into a driveway.  I thought OH!  That was a good idea, so I pulled into this driveway next to him to get out of traffic.  The rest of the drivers proceeded through slowly.

The guy that stopped was named Randy and I definitely owe him big time.  I don't do well in stressful situations and I was shaking, my heart was pounding in my chest and I was in a panic.  He came right up to me, put an arm around my shoulder and just talked to me.  He made sure I was ok (I was) then just held my hand until I could get my breath back and get my thoughts together. 

Randy checked out my car for me to assess the damage.  The driver's side mirror is broken.  It's sort of attached to the car but not by much.   From there the deer went forward and crashed into the fender that goes from the driver's door to the front bumper.  Originally, the fender was up against my tire.  Randy was nice enough to pull that out by hand so that at least my car is still drivable.

In the dark, he checked out my car the best he could.  He looked for blood from the deer and thank goodness there wasn't any.  Randy told me that he saw the doe get up from the street and run back to the left between some houses.

Randy also told me that you have to report an accident with a deer to the police.  Who knew?!  I didn't consider this an "emergency" since I thought I was ok and the car, thanks to Randy, was drivable.  I called 911 assuming they would send Amherst police to take a report.  For some reason, the State Police were called for this accident.

Randy offered to stay until the police got there but I didn't know how long that was going to take.  Why should both of our Friday nights be ruined!  Besides, it was getting colder and he had gone above and beyond for me already.   He did give me his name and number in case the police or insurance company needed it and he went on his way.

After the report was taken, one of the officers did go across the street with a flashlight to see if the deer collapsed behind the houses where it was last seen.  He found no deer, so I am hoping that she is fine.

Just what I needed.  Here's a $500 deductible down the drain.  And that didn't help my car phobia any.  On the plus side, there are still genuinely good people out there.  A huge thank you to a perfect stranger, Randy, who stopped in my time of need and just acted like a human being.  Thank you for holding my hand, thank you for putting my mind at ease that my car was drivable, thank you for just making sure I was ok.

Phil was nice enough to come outside with a camera when I got home Friday to document my new owie.  This is after he pulled that fender away from the tire.  This doesn't look so bad.   This was the first deer I ever hit and hopefully it will be the last.

It's only a car.  I hope the deer is ok.

And Then There Were Four

From the right, there is my Benny and then Ava.  The little gray one is Maggie and her mom Blondie.  Last on the left is my latest rescue, Lily.

I had Benny and Ava and then I rescued Blondie and her only surviving kitten Maggie.  After their quarantine was lifted, I tried integrating them into the house, and that didn't always go well.  From the beginning we have had issues as Blondie would go after Benny especially and to a lesser extent Ava.  I attributed it to the fact that Maggie was so tiny at only four weeks old that she was just protecting her kitten.  Then came my last rescue, Lily.  My heart was in the right place and I committed to the financial responsibility of keeping all five cats.  Now Maggie is a whopping seven months old and able to hold her own against Benny and Ava when they are playing.  Unfortunately, Blondie has never gotten along with Benny and it just wasn't getting any better.

I don't know if it was the dynamics of having five cats or if something happened between the adults that I didn't see, but Blondie kept getting worse and worse with Benny.  She was ok next to him until she wasn't.   She would suddenly get so terrified of him, she would hunker down and scream.  It wasn't a meow, it wasn't a screech or a caterwaul, it was a scream.  She was totally stressed out which started stressing out the other cats and the kitty mama.  Hey, I'm stressed out enough, I didn't need this on top of everything else.

I did everything I could possibly do.  I talked to my vet and he told me to just keep moving their wet food closer and closer to each other until they can be next to each other.  Hey, this isn't my first time to the rodeo.  I could get them eating side by side and all was well.  Until it wasn't and she would try to crawl under the toe kick of the kitchen cabinets and just scream her lungs out.  It was absolutely heartbreaking.  I've even had her on pheromones which have not helped at all.

I finally had to keep either her or Benny on lock down.  I would lock Blondie up in the bedroom which she hated.  Or I would lock Benny in the basement which he hated.  It wasn't fair to any of the cats and especially those two.  I'd let everyone out at meal time and all would be ok while they were eating . . . until they weren't ok.  If they were out in the house together, Blondie would spend her time hiding from Benny, hoping he wouldn't see her.  She'd be inside of back of the floor clock or she'd hide behind the garbage can.  If he saw her, or even just glanced her way, she'd run and she'd scream.  Then he'd think it was a game so he'd chase her. 

I finally did what I thought was right and I surrendered her to the Friendship Animal Protection League (APL) so that they could find her a home.  Hopefully a home with no other pets.

Blondie really is a loving and beautiful cat, as long as she isn't by other cats.  I've never had a dog so I don't know how she would be around a dog or how she would be around kids for that matter.  I do know she hates to be by other cats.  Trust me on this one!  But this girl loves to play, loves her toys, loves her belly rubbed.  She will lay there and purr for as long as you are willing to rub her belly!  The pictures don't do her justice, she is really beautiful with such striking golden eyes and just wants to be loved.  I just wish I could be the one to love her enough to make her happy.

She has all of her first year shots, she is front declawed and she is spayed.  She just needs a loving home.  Here is a link to Blondie's APL page.

If anyone is looking for a furever friend and you don't have other animals, please head up to the APL in Elyria and consider my girl.  I know you won't be sorry!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Tick . . . Tick . . . Tick

I had the strangest day at work yesterday.  One of those days that make you really question your sanity!

Yesterday afternoon, I was sitting at my desk working away when suddenly I heard it.  Tick . . . tick . . . tick.  You heard me.  It went tick . . . tick . . . tick.  Seriously, what in the heck.

After the raccoon coming through the ceiling recently, all I could think of was that something was walking up over the drop ceiling and was going to fall on my head any minute!  Tick . . . tick . . . tick.  GRRR

I stopped what I was doing and looked behind me up at my one ceiling tile that has been broken for a long time.  If something is coming through my ceiling, that's where it's going to happen.  Good news / bad news is that it wasn't anything walking over the crop ceiling.  It was a BUG!  A BIG BUG!  And the ticking I kept hearing was this bug hitting the plastic cover of my ceiling lights!

My next thought was holy crap there is a huge bee in my office!  I grabbed my phone (I don't know why!) and I ran to the doorway of my office.  I don't know what I thought I was going to do there but I felt safer.

I watched this dang bug keep slamming himself into the ceiling light.  Finally, he came to a stop on a ceiling tile.  Against my better judgement, I had to walk closer to see what kind of bee it was.  MUCH to my surprise, it wasn't a bee at all, but a STINK BUG!  It's been all over the news about the stink bugs this year.  We have had more than our fair share of them around.  Well, now one of them found his way into my office.

This is not the picture of the actual stink bug that was in my office.  At least I don't think it is the same one.  This one just hitched a ride on my car recently.  But in case anyone doesn't know what a stink bug looks like, this is it!

I'm afraid of a lot of things but I really didn't think I was afraid of a stink bug.  I put my phone down, put my big girl panties on and came up with a plan.  I grabbed a small plastic cup and some paperwork off of my desk.  I got up on a chair, put the cup over the stink bug sitting on my ceiling and then used the paperwork to slide between the cup and the ceiling, trapping the bug in the cup.

Without breaking my leg, I got off of the chair, took the cup and paper to the front door and released the stink bug!  I was SOOO proud of myself!  I came back into the building, shut the door and not one minute later, Mike came out of the shop and went out to his car for something.  He came back into the building and went back to the shop as I went back to my office to finish what I was doing.

Then, there it was again.  Tick . . . tick . . . tick.  CRAP.

I look up and sure enough, a stink bug, hitting himself again and again against my light covering on the ceiling.  I really have no idea if this was the same stink bug that followed Mike back into the building or if it was second stink bug.  

I grabbed the plastic cup out of my recycling bin, grabbed my paperwork again and got the chair ready.  Once again, I put the cup over the stink bug, used the paper to trap him inside of the cup and walked his little butt outside.  This time however, I didn't just release him outside of the door, I walked him to the opposite end of the parking lot!  My good deed for the day!

That was supposed to be the end of my story.  Unfortunately, I keep seeing the title of this post and it reminds me of an old ditty.  I've had this little thing stuck in my head for more hours than I can count!  Go ahead and watch it if you dare!  Then, I challenge YOU to get that song out of your head.

You're welcome!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Happy Birthday, Aunt Mary

Today, my Aunt Mary is 91 years young!

Is she beautiful or what!!!

I got to thinking about Aunt Mary today.  Aunt Mary is not only my Aunt, she is my Godmother, she was my partner in crime, my role model, my friend.

I grew up in a flat.  My Aunt Mary, a young widow with two babies lived downstairs in the flat and my family lived upstairs.  We did everything together, our two families.  I think me being the baby of this group, plus with Aunt Mary being my Godmother, we were especially close.

Aunt Mary is the one that taught me that you are allowed to celebrate your entire birthday MONTH, not just your day!  Is that genius or what!!  Aunt Mary has taught me a lot of good stuff like that over the years.

I got to see her a couple of weeks ago.  As always, she was thrilled to see me.  C'mon now, who wouldn't be!  I got to play some pinochle with her and chat about everything.  I don't know if she remembers that I was there, but I remember.   She is still beautiful, she is still happy and her smile still lights up a room.  Thanks to my brother Jim for sending me a picture of her today sitting with her birthday flowers.

Happy birthday, Aunt Mary!  91 years young and still going strong!  I hope you ate too much cake and I hope you celebrate all 31 days of YOUR month, because it's the right thing to do!  Aunt Mary - the queen of birthdays who taught me all I know about celebrating them to your fullest.  That kind of teaching is priceless.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

I Lauged, I Cried, I Wanted More!

What a weekend!

My friends Ruth and Jeff came to town for the weekend.  We had a great time!

There was a lot of laughs, a few tears, lots of hugs and good food.  I don't know what more you could ask for.  You see, we have known each other for more years than I'd like to admit.  We've been through it all together: births, weddings, break ups and deaths.  We have always laughed together and cried together.  That's the thing about really good friends - you don't need to see each other every day or talk every day.  But when you DO get together, it's like you were never apart.

We really didn't do touristy stuff this trip.  This trip was all about relaxing, catching up and of course laughing.  We did take a small road trip on Saturday up to Findley State Park up in Wellington to check out their camping facilities for future trips.

The state park was done up right.  They are totally into the Halloween spirit!  There was a little marshy area that was haunted by a few ghosts!

And to make sure you got a better look at the two boaters:

It was way too funny!

Another cool feature of Wellington believe it or not was the ATM machine at the LorMet Credit Union!  As we were driving to the state park, I thought I saw something and I definitely wanted to check it out on the way home.  Now THIS is a drive up ATM machine!

That doggone horse looked real!

Wellington really is a nice little town.  So full of character and that's a good thing!

After all is said and done, I just noticed that I took absolutely no pictures of the four of us!  Nor did I take any pictures of any of the great food I cooked over the weekend.  I just wasn't thinking.

We had a great visit and I stocked up on hugs from my friends.  It was great to see you guys and I miss you already.  I love you both and thank you from the bottom of my heart for making the trip to come out and see us.  Hopefully the next visit will be soon!

Friday, October 25, 2013

When There is a Raccoon in the Building . . .

Lock yourself in your office!

I am the first one to work in the morning.  I unlock the doors, turn off the alarm, go to my office to change into my work shoes, then I turn the lights on throughout the building and back to my office to start work. This takes a little while since it's a BIG building!

A few weeks ago, I walked into the building, turned off the alarm and then turned the corner.  There is a garbage can next to the water cooler and the can was knocked over and some of the garbage was on the floor.  I knew something was wrong in my world.

I went into my dark office and changed my shoes, all the while telling myself that there is nothing to be worried about.  All was good in my world.

I walked out of my office, turned to the left towards the lab (where all of the office light switches are) and THERE it was!  A freakin' raccoon, turning the corner towards the lab!  AARGH!

I went back to my office, grabbed my purse, closed my office door and went back to the front door.  There, I kept my eye on the hallway to make sure that the raccoon stayed where he was.  I wanted to make sure he did not come back to my part of the building.  I called just about everyone I had on speed dial.

First I called our property manager, no answer.  Then I called one of the owners, no answer.  Then I called one of the guys that works in the shop, no answer.  I called 911!  They answered but were kind of unimpressed.  She gave me a few numbers for local wildlife trappers, but wouldn't send someone over with a gun or a net or a fire truck with a hook and ladder.  Hey, I was in panic mode.  I would have been ok with the National Guard coming over at that moment.  What the hell.  I was so frustrated that I called my brother, in CHINA.  Lucky for him because I went to his voicemail and swore at him like a marine would.  Yeah, not my proudest moment.

This is on one side of me:

The raccoon was obviously inside of the building above the drop ceiling.  As he walked across this tile, the tile gave away and he crashed to the floor.  Sheesh, not good.

On the other side of me was the last place I saw the critter.  There is a door right around the corner that goes into the lab, and I felt if I could just get that door shut I could stop my panic because the raccoon was on the other side of that door. Unfortunately, I wasn't going to be the one to walk down that hallway and around a blind corner and shut that door!  Who knows if that raccoon was just around the corner on MY side of the door ready to bite me!?!?

Yes, I was in the middle of a hissy fit and a panic attack.  I guess that would be a hissy attack!  Whatever it was, it wasn't pretty.

I started on my list again.  I called the property manager and this time he answered the phone.  I gave him an earful and he promised he be there in 30 minutes.  I think he was hoping that by then I'd pull my claws back in.

I called one of the owners.  I woke him up and gave HIM an earful on why he needed to be in the building immediately.  I don't think he agreed with my hissy attack but whatever.  He wasn't in the building with a killer raccoon!  He did show up pretty quickly at the building with this:

Now that I think about it, I'm not sure if he walked in the building with this because of the killer raccoon or because of me!  Makes ya think, huh?

Lo and behold, one of the guys from the shop came in first.  In the middle of my hissy attack, I explained what happened so far that morning, and he was nice enough to walk down the hall, around that blind corner and close the door to the lab.  That meant that I know for sure he was not on my side of the building, but closed in between the lab and another office.  I was sort of jiggy with that, but I closed myself in my office for the rest of the day just in case.

Eventually, I had the guy from the shop, the property manager and an owner, all trying to find and catch this raccoon.  Granted, I was in a self imposed lock down in my office, but I was imagining a little bit of a three stooges routine happening out there.  After all was said and done . . . they could find NO raccoon in the building.

I know there are a kajillion hiding places in the lab alone so there was no way I was trusting their opinion that the raccoon found his way out.  I stayed locked in my office.

The next day, kinda the same thing.  I ran through the building screaming like a banshee making a lot of noise and turning on all the lights when I first got there in the morning.  If he was still in the building, I wanted to make sure that he was more afraid of me than I was of him, as if that was possible. 

Finally, the guys showed me why they thought the raccoon found his own way out.  I'm not sure if I buy it but whatever.

First, the footprints where he tried to climb up the wall:

I guess he couldn't reach up high enough.  There was a shelving unit just to the right of this, so they assumed he climbed up the shelving unit, then up and out:

It may not be obvious in these pictures, but you can definitely see raccoon hand prints up this wall.  I can almost get behind the fact that the raccoon made it up to the ceiling but I find it hard to believe that he was smart enough to lift the ceiling tile and then put it right back down where it belonged!

Up above this drop ceiling is the hole to the outside where they figured the raccoon was getting in and out.  They set a live trap outside of that hole and they did end up catching a raccoon that first night.  I caught such a fast glimpse of him in the building, I couldn't guarantee that was the same raccoon, but . . .

The property manager took the live cage away and released the raccoon far away from our building.  Here's hoping he finds a new and safe life, away from this crazy lady.

So, I no longer lock myself in my office.  But I definitely keep an extra eye open when I walk into the building in the morning!  And for now the drama of wildlife in the building is thankfully over.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Turn on the A/C Because Christmas is Here!

Seriously, I went to Sam's Club on Monday after work. I am not ready to be seeing this on October 14th.

What ever happened to waiting to start Christmas after Thanksgiving?? Heaven forbid that we don't all bow down to that almighty dollar.